Posted by: emilywil | April 27, 2009

How to Write the Perfect Press Release

  On April 22 and April 27, our Introduction to Public Relations discussed how to write the perfect press release and the importance of AP style when writing a press release.  These two classes were very helpful, especially since I was required to write a press release for my introduction to journalism class at the same time!

  The first step to a press release is the letterhead.  There should be a logo of the company or organization you are writing the release for at the center top of the page. 

  The second step is to write “News Release” underneath the letterhead logo.  Beneath that, the media contact should be named.  The media contact is there so if the journalist or publisher needs to talk to someone from the company, they can get in contact with them.  There should usually be a phone number or e-mail, because they might need to get in contact very quickly. 

  Across from the  contract information should be the words, “For Immediate Release,” or “Embargo.”  Embargo means to hold the press release from being published until the date listed next to the word embargo.  If it will kill your company if the news is released before the embargo date, it is best to just not send it to the journalist.    

  Underneath the media contact and immediate release or embargo, there should be the headline which explains what the press release is about.  It should be in bold, centered, and all caps. 

  Then body begins with the dateline, which is the the name of the city and state, or possibly just the city along with the date.  Make sure you reference the AP style book, some states are listed different than you would think! The rest of the body is made up of the lead (which contains the who? what? where? when? why? and how?), quotations, and the rest of the body information. 

  The additional contact information should be added into the end of the story along with a “boiler plate” which is general information that is not specific to the particular press release. 

  Usually press releases should be kept to one page, however if it does run to two pages, at the end of the first page there should be -MORE- and a slug on page two of the topic of the press release, in case the two papers get separated.  At the end of the press release there should be ### or END to signify the end of the press release.

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